From cutting-edge situation rooms that are used to simulate attacks on US soil, to business incubator rooms for promising entrepreneurs, five new labs at the College of Professional Studies (CPS) are helping prepare students for some of today’s fastest-growing careers.
Developed to support academic and experiential learning, the new labs are an integral component in the transformation of CPS, which began when the College's academic and administrative offices moved to St. Augustine Hall in 2016.
“This is an exciting time for the College of Professional Studies,” said Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Dean, College of Professional Studies. “These new collaborative spaces and state-of-the-art engagement environments enable our faculty to better educate our students and prepare them for the future.”
The new suite of learning spaces includes the Homeland Security/Emergency Management Simulation Lab—the first of its kind in the Northeast. This new lab provides a real-time immersion and learning experience for students to engage in interactive simulations of scenarios such as terrorist attacks, floods, nuclear strikes, hazardous material releases, and severe weather conditions, so that they may apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world, exigent situations.
Similarly, the Cyber Security Lab is a specialized venue for learning, applying, and practicing the principles of computer and network security. In the lab, students employ practical techniques for managing a variety of cyber security issues while developing critical skills in the areas of intrusion detection, network forensics investigation, and malware analysis.
“By keeping up with the ever-changing needs of the cyber industry, the lab creates an ideal space for cultivating the cyber defenders of tomorrow,” said Anish Bachu, a Cyber Security Systems major and President of the student organization, SJUCyber. “It is an environment where we train and hone our skills, so that we will be better equipped to meet any challenges dealt to us in the future.”
CPS’s new labs also include the Innovation and Design Enhancing the Arts (IDEA) Lab, where the focus is on student creativity. According to Kevin James ’11C, ’13MBA, Assistant Dean, the lab was created to function as “a free space where students can collaborate on their ideas.” With the opening of the IDEA Lab, Communication Arts students now have a vibrant collaboration working space where they can produce new print and digital content and test their ideas.
The Innovation Lab is a new hub of high-tech discovery for emerging entrepreneurs. In the lab, students work to develop new ideas and products and transform them into final “sellable” content. Under the guidance of faculty or industry mentors, student teams can even work on lab-to-market projects and test their ideas using virtual reality experimentation, 3-D printing, and mobile application testing tools.
According to Basilio Monteiro, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Director of the Graduate Program in International Communication, and Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication, this new space is in line with the current trends in the global economy. “The future of business is in small enterprises,” he said. “Entrepreneurs are the ones who are best prepared to respond to the needs of the marketplace.”
The Computer Science Lab is a flexible space where faculty and students collaborate in any number of areas and interests. Its most notable feature is a series of servers that are dedicated to testing applications in data mining, health care informatics, and other special software, depending on a student’s needs. This space is also being used for club meetings, presentations, and tutoring.
These five new, state-of-the-art spaces demonstrate the University’s commitment to enhance the teaching and learning environment for St. John’s faculty and students.